SPRING HILL — Although no medical marijuana dispensaries have been authorized by the state in Hernando County, nor are there likely to be any in the near future, at least one physician is treating patients with a legal derivative of the often controversial hemp plant.
Dr. Russell T. Bain, founder six months ago of the Florida Medical Marijuana Institute, is dispensing cannabidiol, or CBD, an oil extract of marijuana whose oral consumption produces "no high, no low," he insists, but affects the brain's receptors to reduce pain significantly.
Bain, who has practiced medicine for 27 years, also is authorized to prescribe medical marijuana for children and adults with qualifying medical conditions.
"I'm not selling marijuana," Bain emphasized. "That's illegal." No marijuana is on the premises.
CBD is neither "medical marijuana" nor a controlled substance, Bain said, noting, "It is purely an organic product."
A board-certified pediatrician, Bain, 56, expanded his professional horizons when he encountered patients, young and old, suffering severe pain due to a number of diseases and afflictions for which they already were being treated. Saying the few authorized medical marijuana dispensaries in Florida are at least two months behind in qualifying applicants, Bain explained, "I don't want these patients to wait. After all, a doctor is supposed to relieve pain and suffering."
"I'm not a salesman," Bain said. "I have to give you the best information."
He tells patients: "You make the choice."
Bain believes, and has seen results, that CBD is often an adequate alternative to low-THC medical marijuana and pharmaceuticals. The oil, too, fits into his propensity for holistic medicine.
Dispensing the oil through his office, Bain has approved through physical examinations some 40 to 45 patients for CBD treatment. Most are suffering from lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, diabetes, anxiety, insomnia or a combination of these, plus chronic pain. According to study results over 10 years, Bain said, CBD also reduces seizures, curtails vomiting and reduces inflammation.
For starters, Bain recommends four drops of 300 mg CBD — it's packaged in an eye-dropper bottle — under the tongue daily. A month's supply costs $50. Stronger dosages are available at $65 and $90. The product also is available in dry edible form.
Although Florida has approved medical marijuana, the federal government still considers any form of marijuana illegal; thus, it is not covered by health insurance.
In conjunction with CDB treatment, Bain is utilizing a medical technology appliance system known as Bemer, which helps to minimize pain. Manufactured in Sweden, it is approved by the Food and Drug and Administration and is utilized in NASA's astronaut program.
The electronic device, basically a lay-on mat, with add-on appliances available, increases blood flow by 30 percent, speeding recovery from a variety of ailments as well as reducing pain, improving energy, strength, cardiac function and mental acuity, among others.
"The root cause of about 95 percent of health issues is poor blood flow," according to a Bemer treatise Bain provides to all patients.
"It's all about regenerative medicine," he said.
A treatment in the physician's office, effective for the ensuing 12 to 16 hours, costs $20. Because multiple treatments are recommended based on severity of the ailment or the desire for long-term effect, some patients buy the system for home use, about $5,900.
"If you were in constant, severe pain, wouldn't you pay $5,900 for relief?" Bain asked.
Bain's Medical Marijuana Institute is housed within his specialty pediatric practice, Babies & Beyond. The auxiliary CBD and Bemer products, he said, "are the 'Beyond.' "
Contact Beth Gray at email@example.com.